Getting excited about the Festival. Arranging logistics: what time are we going to leave? Who will drive? Can we get there in time for the 1:45 interview with Wally Lamb on Thursday? Can we stay until Mary Karr gives the final plenary on Saturday night? (By the way: click on that link. It's an interview with Karr in Salon.com.)
No, no. We MUST stay until after Mary Karr's talk. To leave before Karr would be like going to the Oscars and leaving right before Tom Hanks announced Hurt Locker for Best Picture.
Here's what I'm slating on my dance card in between Lamb and Karr:
- Possibly Michael Perry on "Life as a Bumbling Agnostic," or Matt Ruff confessing "An Interesting Moral Education; or How I Learned to Lie for a Living."
- Another Wally Lamb event: "There But For the Grace of God: What My Writing Has Taught Me About Sin, Redemption, and the Complexity of the Crime-And-Punishment Equation."
- The talk by the poet Christian Wiman sort of intrigues me, even though I am not a poet, and only barely a reader of poetry. His topic is "Hive of Nerves: On Modern Anxiety and Its Ancient Remedy." I loved his essay, Gazing Into the Abyss."
- Maybe I'll check out Kate "The Tale of Despereaux" DiCamillo's talk on "Why Writers Write: Questions and Answers on the Craft of Writing."
- And, fondly remembering my conversations with Andras Visky both in my own home and also in Romania (name dropper!), I am interested in seeing his new play, Backborn.
There's more, of course; so much more. But this is a good start.
The primary reason I love to attend the Festival of Faith and Writing--other than the fact that it is three days of NO KIDS! NO DISHES! SHOWERING ALONE AND WITHOUT INTERRUPTIONS!--is that it is inspiring to me as a writer.
So far, the first thing I've learned from the FFW this year: I'm too lazy to be a real writer. These writers are prolific, focused, dedicated, focused, hard-working, focused, and apparently un-distracted by Facebook, 24, and Angel DVDs. So far, in reading through the speaker biographies, I have not read about any writers who seem even a little bit like me. They're all very evolved, spiritual, and terribly, terribly focused on their Craft.
Maybe I can spin that to a publisher as some kind of advantage.